We have a berry sweet activity for your family this summer! Farms are working hard to follow health safety guidelines and create a special and safe activity for your family to enjoy. Strawberry picking is such a fun outdoor activity for your family to keep you busy this summer. My family loves fruit picking with our three young kids. The plants are low to the ground and very accessible for little hands. Use our guide to find U-Pick strawberry fields within driving distance of Chicago.
Local Strawberry Farms with U-Pick Strawberries This Summer
The strawberry season usually begins in mid-June and continues for 3–4 weeks depending on the weather and how many people come to pick. This can vary with weather patterns, so it is best to check with the farm you are planning to visit to find out when they expect to open for the season. Most farms recommend checking their Facebook page or calling beforehand for more up-to-date information regarding their crops.
Due to COVID-19, we encourage you and your family to be familiar with the social distancing policies of each farm to make sure you feel comfortable before leaving. Things will look different from state to state, but remember to do what you feel comfortable with for your family. Stay safe and happy picking!
Strawberry Picking Map
Places Open for Strawberry Picking in 2020
- U-Pick Target Date: June 15-20; check Facebook or call for exact date.
- “Due to Covid-19 there maybe changes to the 2020 U-Pick Season to make less handling and to limit employee/customer interaction. Check Back.”
- U-Pick Target Date: June 10, 2020; check website or call for exact date.
- Hours: Daily 9:00 am – 5:30 pm.
- Last wagon leaves at 5:00 pm.
- New in 2020: Sunflower Field
- U-Pick Target Date: June 15, 2020
- Hours: Daily 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- “We will be open for upick strawberries following the guidelines put out by the U of I Extension office.”
- U-Pick Target Date: June 13, 2020
- Weekday $3 donation per person for entry for U-Pick. Buy 5 buckets, get the 6th free!
- Weekend Festival U-pick $8 per person
- Hours: Monday-Sunday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.
- Call before arrival to be sure strawberries are ripe and still available.
- Covid-19 Rules here : Strawberry Festival
9495 E 1500N Road
Momence, IL 60954
- U-Pick Target Date: Second week of June 2020, call for exact date.
- Call for hours and days of U-Pick berries.
- Target Date: Mid June, 2020
- Hours: Monday – Tuesday CLOSED, Wednesday – Friday 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- U-Pick Target Date: Second to third week of June 2020; check Facebook or call for exact date.
- Hours: Daily 7:00 am – 6:00 pm.
Spring Bluff Nursery
41W130 Norris Road
Sugar Grove, IL 60554
- Small amount of u-pick strawberries available, along with u-pick vegetables
- U-Pick Target Date: mid-June 2020; check Facebook or call for exact date.
- Price: $5 for a 1-quart basket, $8 for 2-quart basket, $14 for a 4-quart basket.
- A $5 minimum strawberry purchase per person is required to enter the strawberry patch.
- Hours: Daily 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
- “Check back to read the guidelines and expectations, for both the farm and our guests, as we maneuver through the changes that Covid-19 has brought forth.”
- U-Pick Target Date: June 13, 2020 – you need to sign up for a time slot. If you wish to pick for more then 45 minutes please sign up for more than 1 time slot.
- Price: $2.00/lb
- Masks are highly recommended for everyone over 2 years old
- They will supply the containers and you will be asked to wash/sanitize your hands before heading to the field.
- Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
- U-Pick Target Date: Middle of June; check Facebook or call for exact date.
- Price: $12 per 4 quart basket (cash only), pick 6 baskets and pay for 5 baskets.
- Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- “We ask that everyone wears a mask, and practices safe social distancing.”
- U-Pick Target Date: June 15-18, 2020; check Facebook or call for exact date.
- Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- “We are still planning on having U-Pick Strawberries in June of 2020, but it could look a little different this year due to COVID-19. Please check back as it gets closer for updates & instructions.”
Farms Closed for U-Pick in 2020
- “We will no longer allow customers to go into the strawberry patch and pick their own strawberries. This is a decision that we have not taken lightly but one that we must implement. Going forward we still plan on having pre-picked berries available, pending the outcome of the Coronavirus regulations.”
- Strawberries for Sale Target Date: Mid-June; check Facebook or call for exact date.
- “This year’s harvest will likely look different than most years. We do anticipate being able to have u-pick blueberries in mid July. Check back for updates as the time gets closer.”
- Closed for the 2020 season.
- The Radical Roots Family decided not to extend their land lease and are looking forward to finding a new permanent location.
Planning Your Strawberry Picking Trip
Always call before you go picking to verify hours and crop availability. Ask if the fields are picked over or still have a decent amount of strawberries left to pick. Some fields are picked clean by lunchtime on the weekends!
Some farms do not supply containers, while others require that you use their supplied containers. Some farms even offer a discount if you bring your own buckets. Call to check the farm’s policies before you leave.
I also recommend asking when the fields were sprayed. Sometimes, freshly sprayed farms make it less appetizing for sampling as you pick. It’s way more fun, especially for the kids, to pick if you can taste along the way!
Things to Bring Strawberry Picking
Consider the heat and sun while picking. There often aren’t trees around strawberry fields so the berries can receive full sun, which means you will get full sun too! This may mean wearing a hat while picking, wearing sunscreen, and light clothing. You may also want to bring or apply bug spray before going as well.
Pack water, and drink often! You are bent over, crawling on the ground and it is easy to get dizzy in the heat.
Bring a picnic lunch, or at least a snack and a blanket to eat on.
Don’t wear nice clothes or shoes. Especially with kids, you almost always get strawberry juice on your clothes. Usually there is straw or mulch between the rows of plants, but depending on how much rain there has been, there could be mud underneath, too. Bring a change of clothes for the kids (and maybe yourself too)!
Remember to bring supplies to keep you are your family comfortable and safe for 2020. You might want to bring face masks, gloves, exact change or use a credit card for payment, and hand sanitizer. Stay safe and have fun!
Strawberry Picking Tips
Unripe berries will not ripen once picked, so pick strawberries that are bright red (no white tips) but pass up the ones that have bruises or are mushy. The size of the strawberry will not affect its sweetness.
Many strawberries ripen under the leaves of the plant, so it helps to gently lift the leaves to look towards the center of the plant.
Strawberries keep better if you pick them with the cap and stem on. Pull the strawberry at the stem with a slight twist and it should come off with the cap and stem. Don’t stress about it too much though because they are still fine without the cap and stem.
When You Get Home
Don’t wash your strawberries until you are ready to eat them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling. Wash in cool water to remove dirt and store in the refridgerator.
To freeze your strawberries: wash and hull them (cut off the green part and remove the core), dry them really well by patting them dry or laying them out to dry on your counter. Lay them on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and put in freezer. When completely frozen, transfer them into ziplock bags, removing as much air as you can. Strawberries will be slightly mushier than other frozen fruits when unfrozen, but they are still delicious. Berries can keep for months in the freezer, so don’t hesitate to freeze extras!
For more ways to get out and enjoy the fresh air as a family, check out our outdoor activities page.